CRITIC'S CHOICE

Jeff Buckley, Thursday, July 14, at the Bug, is the son of Sixties contemporary-folk stalwart Tim Buckley, but you'd never know it by listening to his music. Although this Manhattan-based singer/songwriter (second from left) usually performs as a coffeehouse solo act, his angelic avant-rock compositions have more in common with Led Zeppelin than with Woody Guthrie. On his upcoming Columbia release, Grace (due in October), Buckley takes familiar music styles (rock, folk, jazz, blues, gospel) and gives them a mesmerizing, and much needed, facelift. These treatments, when combined with the singer's hauntingly emotional voice--a multi-octave tenor that would charm even the most anal-retentive choir director--give the songs on Grace a truly timeless quality. Buckley is clearly among the most engaging new talents to rise out of the alternative heap this year. To paraphrase his late, great father, "Get on top" of this one.

 
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